A Hot Time In The City….
… Of Louisville
by Bob Chalker
The weather was hot, the cars were hot (a few a little too hot) and MG2016 was hot. The week began on Monday night with a wonderful evening at Churchill Downs where we were given a tour of the track, had plenty of time to peruse the many exhibits and most importantly renew old friendships and make new ones. I understand that over 60 people from Texas made the trip. From the HMGCC this included: Ron Redding, Ray Holtzapple, Ed Greene, Fran and Gordon Smith, Dan and Martina Asbury, Bob and Kim Chalker. On Tuesday and Wednesday we had many options including attending technical sessions, visiting the Corvette assembly plant and museum or, what we did, taking self a guided tour of the country side. We put over 220 miles on our 72 B visiting wineries, a train museum, My Old Kentucky Home and my favorite, Maker’s Mark distillery where we toured the facility and enjoyed tasting the whiskey. On Tuesday night we were entertained by Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets Band. I am not sure I know how to describe them other than they were very entertaining, played lots of 60s and 70s music and kept the dance floor packed.
There were many other activities including, learning about Derby Pies, a super, top secret recipe. I’d have to kill you if I told you what it was. Classes on making fascinators, you know, those funny hats the British woman wear. A Funkhana and rocker cover races. At all times you could find fellow MG owners in the hallways, exhibit area, restaurants and bars, and the parking lot. All were sharing stories, admiring each other’s vehicles and just enjoying the camaraderie that comes from our love affair with our MG’s.
On Thursday, as we awoke and made our way outside we quickly knew that the weatherman was going to be right on this day and it was going to be hot, very hot, with temperatures reaching the high 90’s. But as you would expect, that didn’t deter the many die hard MG owner’s. Over 800 cars made there way down to Waterfront Park, an open field along the Ohio river. I can’t begin to describe the many really hot cars, both literally and figuratively, that were there. Did I mention it was hot, very hot, even by Houston standards. There were over 400 B’s, 200 A’s and I believe over 100 T’s. The rest were a mix of pre-war MG’s, a few unique cars that you would never guess started life as an MG and several other marques. Not sure how they snuck on the field, I guess everyone really wants to be an MG owner. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the opportunity to see so many MG’s in one place again.
The week ended with the awards banquet and Dennis Gage, from My Classic Car (and the co-inventor of Pringles) as the key note speaker. The Texas contingency was well represented in the medals. I understand we won 9 awards overall and had two first places. Our own Ron Redding took a 2nd place and Ed Greene a 3rd.
A few highlights of the week for me were:
- Meeting a group of Australians who have spent the last 10 years driving their MG’s around the world; across Australia, Europe, China, Africa and most recently the Pan-America Highway.
- Driving the backroads of Kentucky. My favorite was a route aptly named the Road Less Travelled. It was full of twists, turns, single lanes and creek crossings. We saw wild life, beautiful, and some not so beautiful homes, and a boat sitting in the middle of the road. Yes I said a boat. (Ed. Was this related to the distillery stops?) It took us past Wild Turkey and Four Roses distillery, a short visit at the Abbey of Gethsemani and lunch in Bardstown. The country side was stunning. These are the roads our cars where designed for.
- How many people drove their MG’s across the country to attend MG2016. There were many who drove over 1000 miles and several who drove over 3000 miles. Did I mention that it was hot, very hot. We really do drive the little cars who could.
- Admiring the many beautiful cars, too many to mention.
- Visiting a winery where the owner was a car guy, more interested in talking cars than wine.
- Meeting all the great people. We really are part of a special fraternity.
- The highlight of the week was during the show when Dennis Gage spent time admiring my car, he loved the color, and asking questions. He was truly interested in learning about our cars and I found him to be very friendly and personable. And yes, he did co-invent the Pringles potato chips as well as the nutritional drink, Boost.
When I registered for this event back in December, I wasn’t sure if I was going to really be able to go, like all of us, life is busy, work, family… Even up to the week before, I was considering cancelling, boy, am I happy I didn’t. It really was a special week. My wife, Kim and I, are new to owning MG’s, but this week confirmed what I think we really already knew. An MG is not just a car, it is a HOT love affair. Did I mention it was hot, really hot.